• Usman Wajid

EFPF Federation - Building Blocks for a Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem

The federated digital platform model adopted in the EFPF project provides full support to nurture innovation - as well as experiment, develop and test innovative technology solutions. The power of federation has already been demonstrated in the 3 EFPF Pilots where a number of technology solutions were developed using

various EFPF components as building blocks. Within the pilots, the technology solutions focused on addressing key user needs in different industrial sectors – as highlighted in the adjecent figure. A common aspect in these solutions was the use of the EFPF Data Spine, which served as a gluing mechanism to enable interoperability across distributed and diverse technology components.

In the Aerospace pilot, the federated EFPF platform provided the technology support (base functionalities, components and/or read to use solutions) to address key user requirements concerning Tendering and Bid Management, Joint Purchases of Products, Supply Chain Management, as well as Monitoring of Production and Maintenance activities. These requirements were considered key to support agile supply chain and lot-size-one manufacturing scenarios. The adjacent figure describes the mapping of user requirements with the technology offerings (components and solutions) in the EFPF federation.

Benefits of the the EFPF solutions, as reported by the target users include:

  • Increase transparency for combinations of raw materials and end products to fulfil aerospace requirements for material track and trace

  • Use of blockchain technology to raise acceptance of stakeholders for the tool as data cannot be manipulated, and there is only one version of data, meaning it can be used to ensure traceability without massive paperwork

  • Companies know which part from which batch was used to build which products and sold to which customers, all while maintaining full traceability for each part back to its origin

  • Tracking would not be limited to single companies, but different stakeholders could be given different visibility for parts of a project, easing the cooperation and raising the effectiveness.

Similarly, in the Furniture pilot, the user requirements concerning Publishing of Tenders and Inviting Specialist Companies, Searhing for Products and Supply Partners, Monitoring of Production Processes and Monitoring of Delivery Processes; were address by using EFPF solutions or different components as ready-to use building blocks of user centric solutions.

In the furniture pilot, the benefits of the EFPF solutions include:

  • Time-saving in the setup of a supply chain that includes the transportation process to a new, unusual destination

  • Agile management of the ongoing delivery activities of the company and increased awareness of delivery status by all actors involved

  • Time-saving in the evaluation of the delivery progress of a particular order

  • Comprehensive tracking of the delivery process and fast reduction of the reaction time if some problem arises during the delivery process

  • Guaranteed reliability of the delivery process by using Blockchain and secure

  • Higher safety for the workers and reduction of the reaction time when some problem arises during production

  • Reduction of the machine downtime and voiding failures that may affect the quality of produced goods through the detection of abnormal machine operation

  • More comprehensive vision of all the activities involved in the production process and reduction of the reaction time facing upsets during production

Finally, in the Circular Economy Pilot the EFPF federation supported the user needs concerning the Online Bidding Process, Search for Specialised Products/Servies, Integration of Systems and Blockchain and Data Analytics.

Here the benefits reported by target users include:

  • Improves decision-making regarding waste collection management and optimization of planning activities in waste management supply chains

  • Improvements safety conditions because manual waste-bin fill level observations are minimised

  • Increased transparency in transport operations while ensuring risk management, regulatory and environmental compliance

  • Increased transport security and reliability in all customer services due to the complete information reports

  • Reduced costs and use of resources

  • Improved trustworthiness of transactions and minimisation of risks as all exchanged documents, including asset tracking information among the stakeholders, are immutably logged on the blockchain

  • Improved cybersecurity processes in closed-loop supply chains

  • Early identification of risks throughout the circular supply chain data flows

  • Optimal matchmaking (right supplier and suitable material) and improved design, execution, monitoring and optimisation of collaborative processes

  • New business opportunities, especially for SMEs

Further information about the pilot applications and EFPF solutions can be gathered through the project deliverables (available on the website) or by getting in touch with the project contact points.